French Roast? The Darkest Coffee Roasting level in Coffee Roasters Asia? Let’s Explore!
Have you heard about “French Roast”? If you are not a coffee lover, you may think that it is a term to describe pastry baking. Actually, there is a certain level of roasting we can define in Coffee.
When we describe a piece of fried steak, there would have levels like medium rare, medium, medium well and well done. It is similar in coffee roasting. We may all know that roasted coffee is in brown colour, but according to different roasting level, the colour of the coffee beans would be different. In this article, we would use the products and the standard in Coffee Roasters Asia to introduce certain kinds of coffee roasting level. Moreover, we would talk a bit more about French Roast by our recent Halloween promotion: the special blended coffee: “AHH.?!”. We would mention how French Roast can help upgrading the flavour of the coffee.
Light Roast / Light Medium Roast / Cinnamon Roast
Coffee Roasting, if we describe it by the colour of coffee bean, it would be a process turning green beans to the brown coffee bean. In present days, Light- Medium Roast is quite common to use for single origin coffee roasting. Due to the third wave coffee culture, people are pursuing the original flavour of the coffee bean. Light- Medium Roast would be a great level for this objective. Friends who have been read the blog article in Coffee Roasters Asia may have already known what is “ the First crack”. （To read this article “A sound that every roaster is finding – the sound of the first crack”, please go: https://www.coffeeroasters.com.hk/?p=7803） The moment when roaster drops the bean out of the drum in this level is around the start of the first crack to the intense cracking in the first crack. Since the colour of coffee bean would similar to cinnamon, therefore people would call this level as a cinnamon roast. In Coffee Roasters Asia, the single origin coffees from Dominica Barahona and Ethiopia Yirgacheffe are in this roasting level.
This stage appears from the intensive cracking of first crack to the end of it. Coffee beans roasted with this roasting level would be hazelnut brown in colour, with a bit of red as well. In Coffee Roasters Asia, blended coffee “Premium Blue” is a good example. In this stage, most of the original flavour of coffee bean could be preserved. There would be a certain level of acidity, balanced with a layer of fresh sweetness. It has a good performance when we make milk coffee, Americano, even filter coffee.
Medium Dark Roast / City Roast
The biggest different part between Medium Dark Roast and the previous two would be the flavour: the roasting flavour and the flavour developed during caramelisation. In this level, the colour of coffee bean would be shiny brown. As a cup of coffee, the body is rich, rounded and thick. The acidity is low. The sweetness flavour balance with the roasting flavour.
This stage appears between the end of the first crack to the very start of the second crack. Second crack? Yes, that’s correct. Except for the first crack, there is the second crack in coffee roasting. In Coffee Roasting Asia, our coffee roaster is using this roasting level for single origin coffee from Costa Rica Tarrazu Dota and blended coffee “Classic Black”, etc.
Dark Roast/ Full City Roast
Folks who like drinking dark roasted coffee may get satisfaction only start from this level. In this level, the coffee bean has already in the stage of the second crack, or even before the intensive cracking of the second crack. The coffee bean is in a dark brown colour, with a layer of oil on the surface. Obviously, there will have a strong roasting flavour in the coffee. Moreover, the acidity would disappear. Instead, we can find a rich bittersweet balanced flavour, and a bit smoky in it. Roaster’s Blend, Queen Ketiara from Indonesia and Colombia Supremo would be a great representative of dark roasted coffee in Coffee Roasters Asia.
Here we are finally, to talk about French Roast. In this level, roaster is dropping the bean out of the drum between the intensive cracking of the second crack to its end. The bean is in dark brown, with a bit of black colour. The body of the coffee could be thick as butterscotch or even honey. We could not taste any acidity in coffee with this level. Instead, we could taste the rich sweetness created by caramelisation.
Here we may need to talk a bit more about Maillard reaction and caramelisation. In the previous article, we have mentioned the particle of the beans will react with heat energy while roasting. They will release different kinds of flavour components and go through a browning process. This is actually called Maillard Reaction. Not only in Coffee Roasting, Maillard reaction would appear in cooking process like pastry baking, frying steak and frying onions, etc. as well. This is also the reason why food being cooked or coffee beans being roasted would have the change in colour and aroma. Caramelisation is much simple to be understood: this is a result when the sugar in coffee beans been through dehydration while coffee roasting. Coffee beans are rich of sucrose. When the sugar reacts with heat energy while roasting, the water particle would break down, colour of the sugar itself would change, and also it would release a lot of complicated and changeable components. In other words, the flavour of the coffee bean is being developed at this stage.
You probably can guess that Maillard reaction and caramelisation take a big part in the formation of the colour and the flavour development. In the different stage of the temperature level, coffee beans will release over 8 hundreds of organic components through Maillard reaction and caramelisation. These 2 reactions would keep on as long as the beans are being roasted. And thus, the roasting flavour will increase as well, e.g.: Smoky, malt, bitter etc. In French Roasted coffee, these flavour are quite common to be found.
This year, Coffee Roasters Asia releases a special blended “AHH.?!” in Halloween promotion. We blended coffee beans from Brazil Santos and Indonesia Sumatra, roasted them with a French Roast level. The reason why this combination happens is that we found out the beans could preserve its own characteristic in flavour even they have been through a very dark roasted process. With the help of roasting, the beans we chose are performing at an outstanding level. Some of the coffee beans from other regions may not suitable to roast with dark roast. Simply to say, they couldn’t “hold on” in such a long time roasting, the roasting flavour would take over its own characteristic.